Stupid Criminal Alert: Seattle Fugitive Facebook-Friends Feds

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Not quite inconspicuous: Maxi Sopo's profile pic.
We've all done something stupid on Facebook. Drink too much, find yourself online and there's a roughly 50-50 chance you'll spend the next morning trying to frantically delete the slurring love letter you wrote on an ex's wall. But the consequences of Facebook stupidity rarely rise above the level of mild embarrassment. Which is not exactly the same as landing in a Mexico City jail.

That's what happened to Maxi Sopo. Formerly one of those guys you see selling roses in nightclubs, the 26-year-old Cameroon native decided he'd had enough of trying to bargain with drunk meatheads at Trinity. According to federal authorities, Sopo and an associate swindled $200,000 from Seattle-area banks by convincing willing dupes to fudge their incomes on car loans, then using that money to fund a business and expensive trips to Vegas.

Sopo fled to Cancun, where he lived the life of a king; hanging out on the beach by day, partying in clubs by night. Then, because he's a criminal, he did something very, very stupid.

In between posting updates on how much fun he was having, Sopo friended a former Justice Department official. The official had taken a leave of absence and was organizing student trips to Cancun. He'd only met Sopo a couple times and had no idea he was a fugitive. Authorities combing the web saw him on Sopo's friends list, tracked him down then used the official to locate Sopo, arresting him last month.

Sopo's fellow mastermind, Edward Asatoorians, was convicted by a federal jury in Seattle last week. He's looking at up to five years in jail. Because he was the second guy caught -- and his friend already spilled his guts -- Sopo's probable sentence is a little longer. Cost of Facebook stupidity: 30 years.

 
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